The Buy Low Report – Week 7
We are close to the halfway mark of the 2017 fantasy football season. Hopefully your teams all have winning records, and you’re likely to make the playoffs. If not, don’t worry as there’s plenty of time left to try and make up the deficit. Let’s try and identify several players you should acquire/divest in the coming weeks. Welcome to the Week 7 Buy Low Report!
“Come on Bart, remember what Vince Lombardi said – ‘If you lose, you’re out of the family.'” – Homer Simpson (Dead Putting Society)
Another column, another dicey running back purchase. However, use Blount’s bizarre valuation to your advantage and snag him from an unsuspecting owner. The Eagles have played a rough stretch of games, and now the schedule lightens up.1
After Darren Sproles went down with injury, Blount has been overshadowed by the other names in this backfield. Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement made splashy plays but have been mostly ineffective since earlier this season.2
If there were any remaining questions about Blount’s role in this offense, he’s done enough to answer them. Blount leads this backfield in carries, yards, and yards per carry.
Blount now has a near stranglehold on early down duties. Although he leads the backfield in rushing expected points (ruEP), his rushing fantasy points over expectation (ruFPOE) is still negative.
Smallwood is expected to return to action this week, but he should function as the passing-down RB. Hopefully, the positive buzz around Smallwood drives Blount’s price down. Given that Blount faces two soft matchups, try and acquire him before he erupts.
Once considered a value in the middle rounds of a draft, Riddick has been a disappointment thus far. He sees the field mostly to spell Ameer Abdullah, who is currently being used as a workhorse RB. To date, Riddick’s upside has been capped, and it’s been difficult to slot him into your starting lineup on a weekly basis. Now that Golden Tate is set to miss a few weeks with an injury, Riddick should see an increase in usage.
Heith Krueger correctly identified Tate as the WR who vacuums up a significant amount of the Lions’ target share.
Now for a temporary period, the Lions will be missing a player who sees a 21 percent target share. Although Marvin Jones, T.J. Jones, and Kenny Golladay (provided he’s healthy) should see a bump in targets, Riddick is in line for a more prominent receiving workload. A look at the Game Splits App suggests that Tate and Riddick cannibalize each other’s value.
Bear in mind that Riddick has never played in the absence of Tate. There is hidden potential here for Riddick to see an uptick in his receiving work.
When Tate exited the New Orleans Saints game with injury,3 Matthew Stafford targeted Riddick six times. Typically the Lions target Riddick when they’re facing negative game script, but I anticipate that he will see more usage in neutral game-script situations. Riddick’s low aDOT coupled with his terrific YAC numbers indicate that he’s best suited to occupy the role that Tate thrived in.
If you’re looking to acquire Riddick, don’t trade away someone you covet. See if you can find him on waivers or send out a small offer for him.
I didn’t mean to write two blurbs on Eagles players, but here we are. The Buy Low Machine notes that the Eagles WRs face the most challenging schedule until their Week 10 bye.
Over the last six weeks, Jeffery has only seen double-digit targets twice.4 His production year-to-date has been streaky relative to other Eagles receivers.
Despite seeing healthy volume,5 Jeffery has done relatively little with his opportunity. His 2017 RACR of 0.46 is lower than his rookie year RACR (0.48) indicating that there is room for improvement. Additionally, Jeffery leads the team in:
- Air Yards
- Market Share of Air Yards
- Weighted Opportunity Rating (WOPR)
Jeffery will likely bounce back later this season. Therefore if you’re looking to sell Jeffery, ensure that the buyer is willing to pay the iron price.
Time to eat some humble pie. Back in the Buy Low Report for Week 2, I advocated that GMs should buy up Washington receivers. Aside from one big week against the Kansas City Chiefs, Pryor has failed to produce in plus matchups. Now the Washington WR corps faces a moderately difficult schedule going forward.
Although Pryor accounts for the highest WOPR and market share of Air Yards among Washington receivers, he’s underperformed thus far.
Kirk Cousins has shown a proclivity to spread the ball among his receivers.6 Between Jordan Reed being healthy and the coaching staff attempting to get Josh Doctson more involved, Pryor could see a reduction in targets.
Feel free to roll out Pryor against soft secondary units of Philadelphia and Dallas. Hopefully Pryor performs well and boosts his value, thus allowing you to negotiate for a better return.
The Seattle running game has been a dumpster fire since Chris Carson’s season-ending injury. Right now, it’s impossible to tell which RB will see the bulk of the workload going forward. Pete Carroll announced that both Eddy Lacy and Thomas Rawls have equal status in this backfield. The announcement from Carroll makes it hard to trust either RB enough to plug into your lineups.
Additionally, Buy Low Machine indicates that the Seattle RB group is set to see a difficult schedule going forward.
Note that C.J. Prosise is set to return this week and is likely to reclaim his job from J.D. McKissic. As Ben Gretch noted, Prosise should be the big winner here. Snag him if he’s available on waivers and you’re desperate for an RB. I’d look to move Rawls to the Lacy owner or vice versa for a WR3 in return.
Looking ahead to the playoffs
Buy Kelvin Benjamin
Fantasy gamers are currently abuzz with Devin Funchess’s emergence, and Kelvin Benjamin has fallen by the wayside. Despite missing the majority of the New Orleans Saints game because of injury, Benjamin’s raw stats have been impressive. He is currently second among all Carolina Panthers receivers in:
- Target Share
- Market Share of Air Yards
Despite missing a game, Benjamin leads the Panthers receiving corps in yards. The Buy Low Machine indicates that the Panthers face a relatively soft playoff schedule.
If the last two games are any indication, Benjamin should re-emerge as Cam Newton’s preferred target soon. Benjamin led Funchess in Air Yards over the last two weeks and overtook Funchess in WOPR in Week 6.
Try and grab Benjamin while his price is currently deflated and enjoy his production going forward.7
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- Despite the Broncos being considered as a difficult run defense, they were gashed by Orleans Darkwa. I’m not saying that they’re a lousy run defense now, just that you could potentially get decent production from Blount. (back)
- Smallwood has been limited with knee injury and is likely to return this week. (back)
- in the third quarter (back)
- He saw 13 targets against the Chiefs in Week 2 and 10 targets against the Panthers last week. (back)
- 23 percent target share (back)
- Note that the above chart doesn’t include Chris Thompson, who leads Washington in catches and receiving yards. (back)
- Alternatively, Funchess has an attractive playoff schedule as well. Hopefully, his owner is looking to move him for a minimal cost. (back)